Remembering Father Herman

18 May 2018 | People

Father Herman Klein-Hitpass (OMI) passed away on 24 April after a prolonged sickbed in Windhoek.

Ambassador Wilfried I Emvula paid tribute to the man known to many as Father Herman.

“A humble, sophisticated, intelligent leader of outstanding character arrived in Walvis Bay during the late 70s to lead the Catholic church. It was however not by humble choice, but forced by circumstances of that time as those were the years when political and church leaders were victimised by the notorious apartheid regime,”said Emvula.

Father Klein-Hitpass used to serve and lead the Catholic church in Tsumeb and the surrounding areas where he also assisted communities against human rights violations, those evicted from the farms as well as those who were dismissed unfairly.

“It was due to his service that he found himself on the wrong side of the law. When the regime had enough of him, as in the case of other Catholic priests who were German, they served him a banning order (deportation) to leave the country. After some consultations with his superiors, he took a decision to put the regime at test by deciding to move to Walvis Bay which was then regarded as part of South Africa.”

This decision was taken to see if they will further victimise Father Herman by serving another banning order which could have been understood to mean that indeed Walvis Bay was not part of South Africa.

The regime of that time seemed to have understood the logic and left Father Herman alone. They however kept him under house arrest for the rest of the time, warning him not to go to Swakop or any part of Namibia (South West Africa) without the knowledge and permission of the security service.

Father Hermann became part of the oppressed members of the community and continued his work as a Good Shepherd, as by the name of the Catholic congregation in Kuisebmond. He continued his work unhindered although he was closely watched, followed at a distance in many cases as he moved around in the community especially when it came to Kuisebmond and Narraville.

He continued to raise his voice against human right violations and the victimisation of workers and the oppressed. He used to organise legal aid through the CCN and the Catholic church for the vulnerable persons who otherwise could not afford legal services.

“We remember the case of Leonard Sheehama who was accused of bombing the Atlantic Butchery and the Walvis Bay Post Office, the arrest of students from the Kuisebmund Secondary School, the case of a young man who was grilled over a hot plate by the then security police during interrogation and many such incidents.”

He was harassed on numerous occasions and warned by the security police for housing destitute persons for a night in his house in town when they, according to the police, didn't belong there.

“Father Herman will be remembered for having fought for the rights of the oppressed, both in minority and majority groups. He fought against the Contract Labour system and the unfair wages of the fishermen.”

On one occasion he virtually forced the Walvis Bay/Kuisebmond Municipality to build five to six houses for a Topnaar Community that used to live at the dump site which took hard negotiations with the authorities.

“And he got it right. The houses were build when most thought it was not going to happen,” said Emvula.

“I vividly remember when at times I had to ferry letters to Swakop for confidential matters that needed to reach the church leadership in Windhoek, when we climb up into the church tower in Kuisebmund to take photos when the police were victimising demonstrating Swapo members and students of the High School in Kuisebmond for the purpose of evidence and to send it to the papers.”

One interesting case that also comes to mind is when the issue of illegal exploitation of natural resources was highly reported and the question as to where our uranium was being exported to.

“We used to track and trace the movement of containers leaving Rössing Uranium by night being shipped from Walvis Bay to Durban, back to Cape Town before it left for some far destinations. It was interesting to note the secrecy around it and how the process was administered over nights, moving containers from ports around South Africa before it ultimately left on the high seas.”

In 1989 when Emvula was on the verge of being dismissed as headmaster of Duinesig Primary, Judge Dave Smuts who was then founder of the Legal Assistance Center, approached him to open the Walvis Bay Advice Office as paralegal and director.

“Father Herman allowed us to open the office at the garage on the premises of the Catholic church in Kuisebmond. That was the time when security was sharpened around Walvis Bay. People were not allowed to go over the Swakop bridge without an ID when entering or leaving Walvis Bay. Many were harassed, assaulted and even beaten up. We then used to organise for legal assistance, and get lawyers from Windhoek. The office used to benefit a lot from the advice Father Herman provided.”

According to Emvula Father Herman was a man of truth, fearlessness and fairness, and was humble and sophisticated. He feared for no regime of that time. He served his communities with grace.

“It is regrettable that we lost him in the condition he was but still humble. A man of few words but very philosophical. He was well informed through a network of friends in all communities. When one met Father Herman early morning, he could tell what happened in each of the three sections of Walvis Bay overnight. May his soul rest in eternal peace. We will remember him for the good deeds of bravery. He has offered safety and comfort to many."

Father Herman was laid to rest at Döbra on 28 April.

Similar News


Matheus to launch CBK Safari line

2 months ago - 28 October 2019 | People

Swakopmund • Adolf Kaure Kaino Ipuleni Matheus (29), aka Kim, is taking the local fashion industry by storm. Kim is the creative executive at...

Onderburgemeester nou lid van Rotariërs

3 months ago - 27 September 2019 | People

Swakopmund • Iréne-Mari van der Walt Die onderburgemeester van Swakopmund, Maria Elago, is hierdie week as ‘n lid van die Rotariërsklub Swakopmund ingehuldig.“Die doel...

Purpose driven beauties

5 months ago - 11 August 2019 | People

Walvis Bay Leandrea Louw The reigning Miss Teen Walvis Bay, Dominique Bouwer, and the first ever Miss Pre-Teen Walvis Bay, Malinda Bam, discussed...

Alles wat mooi is

5 months ago - 04 August 2019 | People

Windhoek • Yolanda Nel As die ekonomie begin knyp, dan doen jy wat jy kan om ’n ekstra geldjie te verdien. Só het dit gebeur...

The heart of a champion

5 months ago - 28 July 2019 | People

Walvis Bay • Adolf Kaure At the tender age of 15, Delano Müller has conquered the world of martial arts. Müller, who is currently a...

Deur God geseën

5 months ago - 21 July 2019 | People

Windhoek • Yolanda Nel Nadat ’n ma self ervaar het hoe vinnig babas uit hul klere groei, kon sy nie help om te wonder...

The art of making real life baby dolls

6 months ago - 07 July 2019 | People

Walvis Bay Leandrea Louw Humankind never ceases to amaze when it comes to innovation, with the latest creation being real life baby dolls. Magdel...

Graduate shares her story

7 months ago - 26 May 2019 | People

Walvis Bay - Leandrea Louw Chloé Paulse (25), a graduate of the University of Namibia (Unam) medical school, grew up in the salty and...

Ouma Magrita a mother of many

8 months ago - 06 May 2019 | People

Otis Finck - Swakopmund The secret to a long life is having respect for your elders.Ouma Magrita “Mamas” Haoses, who is turning 103 year old...

Getting to know Miss Walvis Bay

8 months ago - 29 April 2019 | People

Walvis Bay - Leandrea Louw Julia Kandjimbi (21), a final year fashion student at the College of the Arts, is the reigning Miss Walvis...

Latest News

Genesa to wow the coast...

16 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

Swakopmund • [email protected] Germany-based musician Genesa Handrick is the star attraction at the Welwitschia Music Production (WMP) Social Responsibility Day taking place at the...

Nuwe skooljaar begin

1 day - 16 January 2020 | Education

Swakopmund • [email protected] Opvoeding in staatskole loop aanhoudend deur weens begrotings wat aanhou krimp en klasse wat aanhou groei.Vir die direkteur van onderwys in...

“Tides of Talents” to commence

1 day - 16 January 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Swakopmund • [email protected] The Tides of Talents group exhibition opening at the Fine Art Gallery on Friday (tomorrow), features contemporary works by young artists...

Gerugte van brandstigting onwaar

1 day - 16 January 2020 | Local News

Swakopmund • Iréne-Mari van der Walt Met ‘n eenvoudige “onbekend” as rede vir die oorsaak van ‘n brand wat Saterdag ‘n huis op Swakopmund...

“Tides of Talents” to commence

3 days ago - 14 January 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Swakopmund • [email protected] The Tides of Talents group exhibition opening at the Fine Art Gallery on Friday at 10:00, features contemporary works by young...

Interne veranderinge by Orano

3 days ago - 14 January 2020 | Business

Swakopmund Orano Mynbougroep se bestuurende direkteur, Hilifa Mbako, beklee sedert 1 Januarie 2020 die rol van uitvoerende voorsitter ná ’n dekade by die maatskappy.“Hierdie...

Residents discouraged to vote at...

3 days ago - 14 January 2020 | Local News

Walvis Bay • [email protected] Returning officer Jeff Manale told members of the public not to leave larger areas like Kuisebmond or Narraville to vote...

Adri toor met koekversierings

4 days ago - 14 January 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Swakopmund • [email protected] As jong meisie was Adri Myall (42) reeds dol daaroor om koeke te versier en het aandagtig gekyk hoe haar tannie Mienie...

Nuwe hotel vir Walvisbaai

4 days ago - 14 January 2020 | Business

Walvisbaai • [email protected] Die City Centre Hotel wat in die hartjie van Walvisbaai se middedorp geleë is, het onlangs sy deure amptelik geopen.Plaaslike...

Load More